MUNISING - Over the past several months, the Superior Watershed Partnership has been distributing free compact fluorescent light bulbs across the Upper Peninsula. The final 10,000 were hand-delivered in the communities of Grand Marais and Munising over the past week.
"It went great," said Carl Lindquist of the SWP. "We had a lot of help."
Volunteers went door to door to deliver six CFLs to each home and business in the two towns. Distribution in other communities was carried out through public libraries or church organizations.
Replacing traditional 60 watt bulbs with the CFLs will have a big impact on the environment and people's energy bills. The 100,000 CFLs, when used to replace 60-watt bulbs, are expected to reduce carbon emissions from coal powered electrical plants by 9,855,000 pounds, which means almost 5,000 tons of reduced carbon emissions.
The CFLs will also save $657,000 in electrical bills each year. Munising and Grand Marais, considered gateway communities to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, were important as examples of work to preserve natural areas around the world.
"This relates to a concern the National Parks Service has on climate change and its impact on natural resources," said Gregg Bruff, chief of Heritage Education, Visitor Services and cultural Resources Management at Pictured Rocks.
Although the light bulb distribution in Munising and Grand Marais was the final leg of the CFL project, it also served as an early start to a new two-year program between the SWP, the PRNL and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
September will see the kick off of Alger Energy Savers - Reducing Our Carbon Footprint. This community outreach program will encourage residents and groups in Alger County to think about ways to save money by reducing energy costs, Bruff said.
Besides providing for a seasonal community outreach park ranger who will visit communities to provide energy saving programming, the program will also bring a matching grant of $400,000 to be split between low income housing, tourism related businesses and residential homeowners. Homeowners could then use the grant to replace windows, furnaces, anything that would improve their energy usage.
Intended for all the residents of Alger County, the program could be extended beyond its original two years.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.